of the world
to global issues
war & conflict
There have been over 250 major wars in the world since World
War II, in which 23 million people have been killed., tens of millions
made homeless, and countless millions injured and bereaved. Over 37 (or
42) million people have by killed by wars in the 20th century. Three times
more people have been killed in wars in the last 90 years than in all
the previous 500.
There are over 35 major conflicts going on in the world
today. In armed conflicts since 1945, 90 per cent of casualties have been
civilians. 3 out of 4 fatalities of war are women and children.
In the wars of the last decade, more children were killed
than soldiers. In the last decade, child victims of war include an estimated
2 million killed, 4 to 5 million disabled, 12 million left homeless, and
more than 1 million orphaned.
There are 300,000 child soldiers in the world.
Landmines maim or kill approximately 26,000 civilians every
year, including 8,000 to 10,000 children. At least 75% of landmine victims
are civilians. It is estimated that there are between 60 and 70 million
landmines in the ground in at least 70 countries.
More than 500 million small arms and light weapons are in
circulation around the world. In major conflicts since 1990, they have
caused 4 million deaths - about 90 per cent of them civilians, and 80
per cent women and children.
There are approximately 30,000 nuclear warheads in the world
today.. Som 5,000 nuclear weapons are on hair-trigger alert, ready to
be launched on a few minutes notice.
Current global military spending is approximately $800 billion
per year; more than the total annual income of the poorest 45% of the
Genocide and other mass murders killed more people in the
20th century than all wars combined. Between 54 and 80 million people
have been killed in genocides in the the last century. Between 170 and
360 million people have been killed, in total, by governments (democide)
in the 20th century, apart from war.
rights & social justice
33% of the world's people live under authoritarian, non-democratic
regimes. 35% of the world's people live in countries in which basic political
rights and civil liberties are denied (such as freedom of speech, religion,
press, fair trials, democratic political processes, etc).
1 billion people - 1/3rd of the world's labor force, is
unemployed or underemployed. An estimated 27 million people are enslaved
around the world, including an estimated 20 million people held in bonded
labour (forced to work in order to pay off a debt, also known as 'debt
bondage').. At least 700,000 people annually, and up to 2 million, mostly
women and children, are victims of human trafficking worldwide (a modern
form of slavery -- bought, sold, transported and held against their will
in slave-like conditions)..
About 246 million, or 1 out of 6, children ages 5 to 17
worldwide are involved in child labor. Nearly three-fourths of these,
about 180 million children, including 110 million under age 15, are exposed
to the worst forms of, or hazardous, child labor. Some estimated 8.4 million
children are trapped in the most abhorrent forms of child labour - slavery,
trafficking, debt bondage, prostitution, pornography and other such activities.
Women account for 70 percent of the world's people who live
in absolute poverty. Women work two-thirds of the world's working hours,
produce half of the world's food, and yet earn only 10% of the world's
income and own less than 1% of the world's property. Worldwide, a quarter
of all women are raped during their lifetime. Depending on the country,
25 to 75 percent of women are regularly beaten at home. Between 10% and
50% of women report they have been physically abused by an intimate partner
in their lifetime. Over 120 million women have undergone female genital
mutilation. Women hold only 12% of parliamentary seats worldwide. Women
account for 2/3rd's of the world's illiterate adults, and girls account
for 2/3rd's of the world's children without access to education.
In 1998, extrajudicial executions were carried out in 47
countries, 'disappearances' occurred in 37 countries, torture occurred
in 125 countries, prisoners of conscience were held in 78 countries, unfair
trials for political prisoners occurred in 35 countries, detentions without
charge or trial occurred in 66 countries, executions were carried out
in 36 countries, and human rights abuses were committed by armed opposition
groups in 37 countries.
There are over 45 million refugees and internally dispaced
people in the world.
poverty & development
3 billion of the world's people (one-half) live in 'poverty'
(living on less than $2 per day). 1.3 billion people live in 'absolute'
or 'extreme poverty' (living on less than $1 per day).
800 million people lack access to basic healthcare. 17 million
people, including 11 million children, die every year from easily preventable
diseases and malnutrition.
800 million people are hungry or malnourished. Nearly 160
million children are malnourished worldwide. 11 million people die every
year from hunger and malnutrition.
2.4 billion people lack access to proper sanitation. 1.1
billion do not have safe drinking water. By 2025, at least 3.5 billion
people or nearly 2/3rd's of the world's population will face water scarcity.
More than 2.2 million people, mostly children, die each year from water
275 million children never attend or complete primary school
education. 870 million of the world's adults are illiterate.
3 million people die every year from HIV/AIDS. Approximately
25 million people have died from AIDS in the last 20 years. 70 million
will die from AIDS by 2020. 40 million people are currently infected with
HIV/AIDS, who will die within 10 years. 13 million children have been
orphaned by HIV/AIDS since the epidemic began, and the number is expected
to double to 26 million by 2010.
Over 100 million people live in slums. An estimated 25 to
50 percent of urban inhabitants in poor, developing countries live in
impoverished slums and squatter settlements.
The richest 1% of the world's people earned as much income
as the bottom 57% (2.7 billion people). The top 5% of the world's people
earn more income than the bottom 80%. The top 10% of the world's people
earn as much income as the bottom 90%. The richest 16% of the world's
population receives 84% of the world's annual income.
The wealth of the world's 7.1 million millionaires ($27
trillion) equals the total combined annual income of the entire planet.
The combined wealth of the world's richest 300 individuals is equal
to the total annual income of 45% of the world's population. The
world's 3 wealthiest families have a combined wealth equal to the annual
income of 600 million of the world's people. The wealthiest one-fifth
of the world's population receive an average income that is 75 times greater
than the poorest one-fifth.
Poor countries (which contain 4/5th's of the world's people)
pay the rich countries an estimated nine times more in debt repayments
than they receive in aid. Africa alone spends four times more on repaying
its debts than it spends on health care. In 1997 the foreign debts of
poor countries were more than $2 trillion and growing. The result is a
debt of $400 for every person in the developing world - where average
annual income in the very poorest countries is less than a dollar a day.
environment & sustainability
Half of the forests that originally covered 46% of the Earth's
land surface are gone. Only one-fifth of the Earth's original forests
remain pristine and undisturbed.
Between 10 and 20 percent of all species will be driven
to extinction in the next 20 to 50 years. Based on current trends, an
estimated 34,000 plant and 5,200 animal species - including one in eight
of the world's bird species - face extinction. Almost a quarter of the
world's mammal species will face extinction within 30 years. Up to 47%
of the world's plant species are at risk of extinction.
60% of the world's coral reefs, which contain up to one-fourth
of all marine species, could be lost in the next 20-40 years
Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and marine mammals
are entangled and drowned by irresponsible fishing practices every year.
More than 20 percent of the world's known 10,000 freshwater
fish species have become extinct, been threatened, or endangered in recent
decades. Sixty percent of the world's important fish stocks are threatened
Desertification and land degradation threaten nearly one-quarter
of the land surface of the globe. Over 250 million people are directly
affected by desertification, and one billion people are at risk.
Global warming is expected to increase the Earth's temperature
by 3C (5.4F) in the next 100 years, resulting in multiple adverse effects
on the environment and human society, including widespread species loss,
ecosystem damage, flooding of populated human settlements, and increased
An estimated 40-80 million people have been forcibly evicted
and displaced from their lands to make way for the construction of large
dams, resulting in economic and social devastation for these people.